Friday, July 24, 2015

What I've Been Reading

I read a book this week!  I love to read, but don't do it very often because I have a hard time multitasking.  I find myself ignoring everyone and everything and just reading.

My friend, Angela, recommended this book to me, The Night Circus.

I originally meant to just listen to this book while doing chores and driving my kids around, but the audiobook wasn't immediately available from my library and the ebook version was.  So, I've spent hours holding my little phone and reading this book.

I loved it.  It was a nice break from real life for a little while.  I wish that I would have listened to it instead of reading it.  Maybe I will.  I'm sure I missed some parts and details as I was trying to read quickly.

*There is one f word in the first few chapters that surprised me, but other than that it was a pretty clean read.

Have you read it?  I'd love to hear what you think about it.

Have you read or listened to any other great books lately?
Click here to see my previous "What I've Been Reading" posts.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Week 325 Menu

Hi guys!  Wow, I've been a slacker about posting my menu.  I meant to do it last week and never got around to it.  And this week it's already Saturday and I'm just posting it.  I've been posting my menus every week since 2008, but the last few months I've been not as consistent.  I'm always thinking about it though.

This summer has been super busy.  Time for blogging isn't always there.  But I love it when I do blog.  It's one of my favorite things to do.  Lots of things have been keeping me busy...vacation a few weeks ago, my kids, our house, church stuff, friends, and our garden.

We have a garden that's growing like crazy.  I'm going outside and bringing handfuls of food back in with me.

Anyway...I've been trying to figure out what healthy food I'm going to feed my family.  More about why in my last post about my "stinking cholesterol".  Makes menu planning a bit more of a challenge.
Better late than never, here's my menu for this week.

Monday:  we ate white chicken chili

Tuesday: we ate homemade pizza.  Pepperoni for the kids.  I made chicken caesar veggie pizza.  (I instagrammed a picture with more details on how I made it.)

Wednesday: we ate spaghetti

Thursday:  we ate fresh whole wheat bread and pb/jam/honey and fruit

Friday: we ate breakfast burritos (I instagrammed about how I healthied mine up)

Saturday:  marinated 7up chicken, homemade tortilla chips and salsa, green beans from the garden, fruit

Sunday:  orange chicken (my kids have been BEGGING me to make this.  Totally not healthy, but really yummy.  I'll limit myself to a few pieces and prepare quinoa along with the fluffy, yummy white rice that I normally make.)

What have you been eating for dinner this week?  I love summer and not having to plan dinner ahead so in advance like during the school year.  Yay for summer!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Heathier Eating: An Update on My Lovely Cholesterol

Hi guys.  I went to the doctor yesterday for my followup about my high cholesterol.  I feel like I need to vent a bit.  Is that okay?
See, here's a picture of me, right now.  We're talking face to face.  Fun, right?

So anyway...yesterday I went to the doctor for my followup from my last visit two months ago (when we talked about my high cholesterol numbers and my doctor told me that I needed to change my diet to see if it lowers my numbers).  So, the last two months I've been "trying" to eat better.

(I've blogged about my high cholesterol diagnosis here.  Then three weeks later, I posted a 3 Weeks Healthy Eating Update.  I've also been sharing healthier eating pics on Instagram too.  I love Instagram!)

I've definitely not been perfect, but I've drastically reduced my meat and dairy intake.  I've been baking less, so the sweet treats aren't here to tempt me.  I've mostly just felt more guilty when I've eaten a hot dog or pizza for dinner with my family because I know how much cholesterol it has in it, but hey, it's summer and I've got kids...we have to eat something.

Anyway.  I had some blood taken a few weeks ago and we talked about the lab results yesterday.  And the results said... (drum roll, please)............that my cholesterol went up!  What the heck?  My good cholesterol went up too, but by LDL (bad cholesterol) and overall cholesterol levels are higher 200s or something bad.  Other things in my blood have gotten better, which is good.

My doctor asked if I could "tighten up my diet" for the next 6 months and we'll do more blood work and see if that has helped.  So...for the next six months it's going to be interesting.

Since I'm young (almost 34 in a month) and I exercise regularly and am otherwise healthy, I don't really look forward to the possibility of being on cholesterol medication (satins) for the rest of my life.  On the other hand, it kind of sounds nice to just be able to take a pill and not worry so much about what I eat.

My kids were asking what I can and can't eat.  Here's what I told them:

Bad foods:  Meat, Dairy, Carbs, Sugar, Butter, etc.  (Pretty much everything they love to eat.)

Good:  Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains.  Nuts.

I feel like I just went through this...which I did, a few months ago.  I tried to eat whole and only eat the "good" food and I really just ended up eating insane amounts of peanut butter on celery and apples.  Not so good.  I'd have good days and then really bad days when I'd totally break out the pretzels and nutella.

So, here's my new PLAN:

1.  Only eat baked treats on Sunday when my daughter makes them.
2.  Extremely limit carbs and only eat whole grains.
3.  Continue to cut down on amount of meat I eat.
4.  Limit dairy and keep it low-fat.  Say goodbye to late night bowls of ice cream.
5.  Eat lots of yummy vegetable and whole grains.
6.  Start making protein powder shakes (my sweet sis is telling how she makes them for herself)
7.  Find lots more new recipes that are heart healthy.  My family is going to have to eat more what I eat for dinner.  My husband is on board with this....and my kids will survive, I guess.
8.  Blog along the way.  Hopefully I'll end up with lots and lots more heart healthy recipes here.  I have lots of yummy recipes, but they usually involve lots of butter, sugar or lots of meat and dairy.

I love this picture, because this is totally what I've been trying to do (and will definitely get better at).

I've been meaning to menu plan, but I honestly can't think of things that I want to start making.  I've got to get over the list of "don'ts" and remembers all the yummy things I can eat.

I'm definitely going to be making lots of kettlecorn (whole grain, right?  with a tiny bit of sugar and coconut oil).
This sweet potato quinoa salad will be making an appearance too...I ate it almost every day during the whole month of June.

My whole family loves this trail mix.  Yum.

This was my lunch today...hummus and veggies from my garden, plus some almonds and extra cucumbers.  I love these little single servings of hummus.  I seriously eat it almost every day.
Anyway....I appreciate all the sweet comments from my friends during the last few months.  It's nice to know that I'm not the only one out there that has this problem and is trying to change eating habits. I'll keep posting and hopefully have lots more low cholesterol recipes soon.  Wish me luck!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Week 324 Menu

Happy Friday everyone!  We survived our first week of summer without Grandma and Grandpa here.  We usually have a few rough days after school get out while we're getting into a schedule and convincing the kids that they have to do chores every day.  My almost six year old is convinced that we only have to do chores on Saturday.  I wish...

It's getting crazy hot here starting today.  Today will be 104 and tomorrow will be around 110!  Wow!  Thank goodness for A/C, splash parks, the river and ice cream!  And I'm glad that this isn't the normal summer temperature for June.  I think it's usually in the 90s.  Oh well...I'm trying to think of the heat like a sauna...soak it in!

Here's this week's menu even though the week is almost over...

Sunday:  grilled chicken salad with homemade ranch and baked tortilla strips

Monday:  chicken salad wraps

Tuesday:  easy

Wednesday:  taco bar (crockpot taco chicken, ground turkey w/homemade taco seasoning, my favorite quick salsa and all the other toppings)

Thursday:  Waikiki meatballs, broccoli, rice

Friday:  pizza

Saturday:  easy

What have you been making this week?  I'd love to hear what your summer dinners consist of.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Week 323 Menu and it's SUMMER finally!

Hi there!  It's finally officially summer at our house!  Our kids had their last day of school on Friday.  So, this is our first week of summer break!

My parents and little sis are here visiting this week, so it's made this week feel even more vacationish.  We've spent the week doing our usual run around to sports practices and games, swim team, scouts, activity days, grocery shopping, etc., but it's been way more fun with Grandma and Grandpa around.  They've been awesome about staying home and watching the little kids while I drive around like crazy.

We've also been doing fun summer things, like playing in the river, going to the splash pads, eating too much ice cream, cherry picking, hiking, and eating lots of yummy food!  It's been nice to see the kids be exhausted when we finally get home and only want to lay on the couch and read or play quietly.  And we're in full wear-your-swimsuit-all-the-time mode.  You never know when you'll get wet!

We've had lots yummy food this week.  Let's see if I can remember what we've had and what's been planned.

Sunday:  my parents arrived and ate steak fajitas with us

Monday:  we had pizza

Tuesday:  we grilled chicken salads (lettuce, tomato, avocado, black beans, grilled corn, marinated chicken, homemade ranch or cilantro/lime vinegrette, topped with crunchy tortilla strips (made like these homemade chips)

Wednesday:  the missionaries joined us for dinner, pulled pork sandwiches on pretzel buns topped with coleslaw, freshly picked ranier cherries, and lots of yummy desserts.

Thursday:  we're going to have spaghetti on noodles or spaghetti squash

Friday:  grill burgers and hot dogs

Saturday:  easy night

Sunday:  Father's Day, I should ask my hubby for his request, I guess.

How about you?  What have you been eating this week?  What are your plans for Father's Day dinner?

Friday, June 12, 2015

More Life Changes

Hi guys.  I'm feeling a little sentimental today.  It's the last day of school for my kiddos.  This day marks the end of another chapter of our move to Washington.

Today my baby girl finishes elementary school and is off to sixth grade in middle school.  Can't believe this is already happening.  She's so excited and I know she'll do great.

For my "big" boys, today is the last day at the elementary school they've been going to since we moved to Washington in January.  In August they'll go to another school (the one that we live within the boundaries of, but was too full to have the kids go there in January).

They're leaving behind lots of great friends and fabulous teachers.  This last half of the school year has been great for them and they've transitioned really well.  They already know a lot of people that they'll go to their new school with.  My kindergartener told me yesterday that he wants to stay at his old school.  (Heart-jerking for me...if that is even a word).

So, once again we're closing a door on something great and moving onto more new things.  Even though I won't miss having to

I was just thinking about some numbers this morning.  It's been...
  • 1 YEAR since we decided that we were most likely going to move away from New Mexico.
  • 10 months since we decided to move to Washington and started kinder, 3rd and 5th grade.
  • 6.5 months since we closed on the sale of our home and moved out of it.
  • 6 months since we very tearfully said goodbye to all our friends in New Mexico.
  • 5.5 months since we arrived in our new town in Washington.  
  • 5 months since we moved into our new home (and I still haven't painted anything...driving me crazy!)
I've blogged about all these changes along the way.  It's been a great place for me to write down my feelings and then move on.

The last five months have been busy, busy and full of challenges.  But we've definitely been blessed and things have been working out.  We've all stretched and grown meeting new people, making lots of new friends, trying new things, going to new places.  We'll just keep plugging forward and hopefully I won't end up on the wrong freeway/highway once a week anymore.  We're all missing our friends that we left though.

Looking to a summer full of fun...and chores, yardwork, basketball, soccer and swimming practices, vacations, hopefully some visiting guests and maybe a nap or too.  After summer, bring on 1st, 4th and 6th grade!